India | Orissa

Sakhi Natch

Sakhi Natch is a traditional glove puppetry of Orissa. This art form is mainly performed in Cuttack District. There are several variations in this puppetry.

The theme of this puppet show centers on the flirting of Lord Krishna around his beloved Radha and other gopis, as depicted in various Hindu mythologies.

The puppets are garishly dressed. Their expressions can be manipulated to showcase various emotions. The puppet of Radha, containing anklets around her waist, is referred to by the name ‘Chandra Badani.’ The puppets are held in the right hand of the puppeteer while the left hand is used for playing a traditional drum called ‘dhol.’ Along with providing the music, the puppeteer also sings. The songs are based on popular folk tunes and melodies. The show is known as ‘Gopa Lila Kundhei.’ A variation of this style of puppetry is the ‘Sakhi Kundhei’ where Radha and Lord Krishna are depicted as a common village girl and boy. The songs in this particular show are based on medieval poetry featuring popular folk tunes.

The puppeteers belong to poor agricultural labor class and belong to a section of the Rajput clan. Along with puppetry, they run small shops, which are a source for their livelihood.

Updated on 8th February, 2015
District: Cuttack


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